Concerns over sulphur discharges into the sea
Τhe Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association – HELMEPA, in the framework of the mission bestowed upon it in 1982 by its founders, the Panhellenic Seafarers’ Federation and the Union of Greek Shipowners, is following with particular interest and applauds the efforts of international shipping to comply with new environmental requirements for the improvement of environmental quality and thus the quality of human life.
The forthcoming implementation of the new Regulation in 2020, according to which ships will be obliged to use clean fuels, with a low sulphur content of 0.5%, constitutes a fundamental technological change and the beginning of a new era for the operations of ships.
The aim of this new legislation is to ensure that the ships’ fuels during combustion do not produce air pollutants, are not a threat to human health and are safe for ships and crews in accordance with international regulations.
Particular attention is required as well as further scientific study of the observed increasing trend to use equivalent alternative ways of compliance with this new Regulation. Especially, technical methods on board ships that will remove sulphur from exhaust gases, which may possibly be discharged cumulatively into the sea together with combustion residues and certain other harmful metals and nutrients.
These discharges raise many questions and considerable concern to HELMEPA regarding the long-term impacts they may have on the marine environment. It seems inconceivable today, in the era of high technological development, that the necessary global efforts to reduce atmospheric pollution result in being dangerous for the already degraded marine ecosystem.
HELMEPA hopes that these concerns are taken into consideration by those who will make the final decisions for the benefit of the global community.